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Karda Estra - The Age Of Science And Enlightenment CD (album) cover

THE AGE OF SCIENCE AND ENLIGHTENMENT

Karda Estra

Symphonic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Karda estra is the solo project of self-taught composer/player Richard Wileman, who happens to be quite prolific since this is his seventh or eighth album since he started it in 97. Considering that the plays keys, guitars and percussions, leaving only the more "symphonic" (or classical if you prefer) instruments to his female collaborators, this would seem quite impressive, but from what I know, KE is a non-touring group also.

What is actually very puzzling about KE's discography is that even though of its almost classical nature it is realeased through one of the most neo-prog labels around: Cyclops Records. This remark is important when you realize that by hearing the music, you'd expect it to be on Cuneiform, home of Univers Zero or other Avant-prog bands of the genre. Well I guess I've already blown the suspense in terms of influences. Yes, Wileman's music is a crossover between Univers Zero, Art Zoyd and a few more groups (Simon Jeffes Penguin CafÚ Orchestra), but it also has a less intricate or complex feel to it. But often the music is just as dark as UZ or AZ, but I'd rather think it has less macabre inspirations even though there is a definite gothic feel, which also heads towards Zeuhl-like music and Shub-Niggurath or Wapassou; Wow, by the sheer name- dropping I've just written, you'd swear KE was French or Belgian, but not quite: from a few mail exchanges while he was sending this album, he actually was not aware of most of these groups. Which of course may appear a bit surprising, but Wileman just like Univers Zero is entirely self-taught and seems to embrace a similar path, but not knowing that most of those groups I mentioned existed some twenty years before he started his Karda Estra project.

Anyway, the music is hard to classify as rock, but it is definitely progressive and is not classical music either. Among the rock elements are the electric guitars (often reminding of Hackett) and the more dynamic movements, namely the Am I Dreaming You? Another parallel I am tempted to draw is the feeling on the more classical album of Steve Hackett's discography, but this is rather remote and very subtle, mostly in the guitar playing. The four-parts 23-min+ centrepiece, The Return of John Deth is the most impressive piece, but shows a great variety of mood, from the haunting oboe- piano duet to the strong Art Zoyd like movements.

In either case, if you are into those groups mentioned in the second paragraph, you can easily indulge in KE's oeuvre, most of which is rather similar to this album, although it appears every album has its own life.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#88994)
Posted Tuesday, September 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another great Karda Estra album, with one of the best pieces Richard Wileman has ever composed and performed, the four-part neo-classical suite, "The Return of John Deth" (clocking in at almost 24 minutes) (10/10), the rest is just not on the same masterpiece level as Eve, or Constellations, IMHO. One of KE's darker albums with top notch, virtuosic performances all around. Richard's acoustic guitar work stands out especially on this one, while Ileesha Bailey's vocal contributions are mixed a bit farther into the background than usual--as are the woodwinds--but it all works, it all feels--like the eery Goth chamber music it was intended to be! Man I love this group!

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#458546)
Posted Thursday, June 09, 2011 | Review Permalink

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